RIO DE JANEIRO: Usain Bolt declared himself virtually unbeatable but downplayed expectations for 2015, saying his main priority was staying injury free ahead of next year’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
The Jamaican world record holder missed most of 2014 with injury and American rival Justin Gatlin went unbeaten in the sprints.
But Bolt said he was not worried about Gatlin, whom his coach already has declared no match for the six-time gold medal winner. “He knows exactly what he is doing, so I don’t doubt anything my coach says,” Bolt told reporters in Rio, where he will compete in a challenge race on Sunday. “When I am at my best it is definitely almost impossible to beat me so all I need to do is be at my best and I’ll be OK.”
Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic 100m champion, finished third behind Bolt in London after returning from a four-year drug ban and last year recorded personal best times of 9.77 and 19.68 seconds over the 100m and 200m respectively. Bolt’s world records in the events are 9.58 and 19.19 seconds, both in 2009.
Track fans are looking forward to a potential showdown between the pair in August’s world championships in Beijing but Bolt gave no hint he would face Gatlin before then. “I don’t know [if that will happen],” he said. “For me that would be fine, it’s always good to compete with your best competitors to see where you stand.”
The laid-back Jamaican appeared more concerned about his fitness, repeatedly saying it was important to have an injury free 2015 in order to have a smooth transition into what will be his final Olympics.
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